Botanical Name Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt.
Synonyms -
Family Poaceae
Local Name Citronella
English Name Citronella (Java)

Plant Description

Citronella is cultivated in Nepal at an altitude of 500-1600m. It is tall aromatic perennial grass reaching up to 2m in height. Leaves fragrant, leaf blade linear, tapering to a long membranous, acuminate tip. The inflorescence is large and drooping and ends in racemose pair supported by the proper sheaths; Racemes are sessile or short; longer pedicelled with two lower spikelets. Propagation is extensively carried out by slips (vegetative method).


Citronella oil is obtained by steam distillation of partially wilted leaves of Cymbopogon winterianus.


The essential oil produced from this crop is of immense significance due to its use in perfume, soap, cosmetics, detergent, and flavor industries at low concentrations and the pharmaceutical industry. The ethnopharmacological evidence as well as the scientific community has also proved its different biological activities like anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticonvulsant activities, which is of great value to the pharmaceutical industries.

Organoleptic Properties

Appearance: Fluid liquid
Colour: Light Yellow or Yellowish Brown
Aroma: Fresh and sweet,Powerful,citronella! scent

Active Constituents

Geraniol, citronellol (dominating in the Java oil, about 80%), geranyl acetate, limonene, citronellyl acetate, elemol, and camphene are active constituents. Others are citronellal, neral, β -caryophyllene, β -elemene, γ -cadinene and traces of cubenene, calamenene, bourbonene, bisabolene, eugenol, nerol, linalool etc.

Physico-Chemical Properties

Specific gravity 0.870 to 0.95 at 25 °C?>
Optical rotation (-)5° to (-)0° at 25°C?>
Refractive index 1.466 to 1.4850 at 25 °C?>
Acid number 0.5 to 3.5
Ester number 20 to 40
Ester number 250 to 280 (after acetylation)
Solubility Soluble in 0.8 to 1.5 volumes of 80% ethanol, Insoluble in water